Wow, after having such a stressful week, my day was pretty seki’a. Maybe even better. I was expecting the day to stink to be honest, since that is what it felt the previous days have felt like.
At school I gave my year 4 class an exam, where many of them bombed it. But I am not too worried about that since they are picking up some, and I am challenging the gifted learners. We had a great day of new vocabulary reading the Little Red Hen. At the end of the day they cleaned the room better than ever, which was a great surprise.
After school, I followed the echoes of my name to another plantation road where a few students were up in a tree. I shouted “Ska mango” (Give me a mango) and they told me to come. I watched a few of the boys and girls look like monkeys as they appeared to swing from the branches from every direction. Other students were under the tree collecting the mangos that were thrown down. I then had a few of them tossed to me. They tasted so sweet and delicious, probably the best mangos I ever tasted.
I had a book about animals in my hands, and a few kids begged me for it, literally. Thrilled that these students had developed a love of books over the year, I quickly handed it over. Many of the boys struggle with reading, and so we looked at the pictures, and said what the animals were in English and Samoan. They liked it so much that we read through it several times until it started to rain.
The rain was my clue to go home and relax until my health meeting with the women in my village. It rained for hours. By the time the meeting was to start, buckets were still falling. I was really nervous that people would not show to the meeting because of it. I gathered my materials and walked slowly in the rain to the Women’s Committee Fale.
When I got to the road, I was in awe, the meeting was to start in half an hour and already there were more women than there were at the previous meeting. I took out the scale and the tape measure and some women began comparing themselves from the previous week. It was so impressive. More and more women kept appearing drenched from the rain. Someone was talking positively about me and the project and I was thrilled.
At the meeting we talked about the fatty, sugary and salty food that we love to eat and talked about suggestions on how to lower the intake to prevent diseases. It was nice to see them think of ways themselves on ho to be healthier, such as use less sugar in tea and such.
We then worked in groups to design a meal that was perfect in our eyes. I realized our views of an amazing meal are so different.
Throughout the entire meeting we shared so many laughs as the women cracked jokes about one another and myself. I felt so much like a part of the community with my 40 women in attendance. It was an amazing meeting.
We closed the meeting with jazzercise where we had a blast making up silly dance moves for about twenty minutes. I saw quickly the difference between the women who are currently active and those that are not. I kind of felt like we were doing a little kid game of copy cat, for every little silly move I did, they copied me completely. As silly as I made it, they kept imitating me. It was hysterical.
We then had a short talk about the upcoming meeting, and I reminded the women that they are free to call me to go for a walk, run, play a game, or even dance with. They seemed happy with that idea, and about five minutes after I left the fale I received a call asking if I wanted to go for a walk. I felt so good about myself as I talked on the telephone.
I spent some time watching volleyball in my village and it was great tafao-ing (hanging out) with some of the women and kids in my village. I had a few kids ask if I was mad at them because I haven’t been to their class as frequently. I told them not to worry because as soon as exams were finished I would be back to have fun with them. (I truly did miss them.)
Ana, one of the girls from my village asked if I wanted to walk home with her, I agreed and followed to her house. I helped her sister with some homework and had an amazing girls night. Ana has one older sister and two younger sister, al of whom I love dearly. We joked around so much and had a great time, that when I was asked if I wanted to stay for dinner, it was impossibly to say no.
I enjoyed delicious koko esi (papaya with cocoa soup. There is also rice mixed in.) It was so delicious.
It was approaching ten o’clock and I knew I had to go home since I was taking the first boat to Apia in the morning. The bus leaves at 2 am, so I only had a few hours to shower, pack, and sleep. (And of course since I still am beaming from my night, write this.) Two of the girls walked me home. Sadly my phone had a dead battery, which meant I had no flashlight, and I fell into a hole once. (Thankfully I didn’t have the same misfortune as my mom with that.) I was just happy I missed all the piles the horses left behind.
Even though I feel like I have been having a rough past few weeks, I am still so happy to be living in Samoa. Everyone is bound to have bad and good days. I’d have to say that the good ones completely outnumbered the bad ones here. Samoa is full of the friendliest people in the world, seriously. They are amazing at their ability to bring smiles to faces. Hanging out with my friends, they reminded me of some of the upcoming events I have to look forward to with them. In two weeks there is a dance (which means I will have to miss spending Halloween with my palagi friends…) Then there is another church event in November which is sure to bring an amazing feast. And Ana made sure to remind me that I will be here to help her celebrate her 21st birthday. There of course are many other things, and thinking about the good times ahead makes me so excited.
I have to keep in mind, as much frustration I might get from work, there are still amazing people that include me in their lives and fun events to look forward to in my village. I love my life.